Sommerer & Mignonneau

A-Volve

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CLIENT: Art and Exhibitions Hall of the German Federal Republic
JUNE til JULY 1996

With the interactive real-time installation A-VOLVE the visitors of the Art and Exhibitions Hall of the German Federal Republic in Bonn were offered the opportunity to create and influence virtual beings via a graphics computer had between June 5 and July 28, 1996.

Through a touch-screen, users could assign the figures any shape and structure and convert them into three-dimensional beings that seem to swim in a video-projected water basin. The beings develop in an evolutionary process and can be influenced in their creation and development by human interaction.

The movement and behaviour of the virtual beings is defined by their shape that the viewer has drawn on the touch screen. Their spatial behaviour is an expression of their shape and their shape is an expression of their adaptation to the environment. The motional capabilities of these beings determine their ability to survive in the pool. The most capable being will survive the longest and be able to mate and reproduce.

In the mutual fight for survival, the beings will try to receive as much energy as possible. Predators hunt for prey to kill it. Furthermore, the creatures react to visitors and the movements of their hands on the water surface. If a visitor tries to catch one of the beings, it will try to escape or to stay calm if actually caught. Thus the visitor is able to influence the process of evolution by protecting the victim from the predator.

If beings of matching strength meet, they can procreate a descendant and a new being gets „born“. It carries the genetic information of its parents. Mutations and crossbreeding represent a natural mechanism of reproduction following Mendel‛s laws. The newborn will soon grow up to its full capacities of reaction and and interact with visitors and other creatures.

Algorithms developed by Mignonneau and Sommerer guarantee smooth and natural movements and an animal-like behaviour of the beings. None of the beings is predetermined; all of them are created in real-time by interaction of the visitors and of other creatures. That allows an unlimited abundance of forms that reflects human and evolutionary rules.

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